Quick Links & Contacts

ACS

Office of Advocacy
212-676-9421

PYA Goals

EDUCATION

Alternative Schools
GED Programs
Scholarships & ETVs

New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.

HOUSING

Finding an Apartment
Emergency Services

JOBS

Summer Jobs

SEXUALITY

Morning After Pill info
1-888-NOT-2-LATE

HEALTH

Citywide Clinic List

New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.

MENTAL HEALTH

Suicide Hotline
212-673-3000

LifeNet Referrals
(24 hours)
1-800-543-3638 (English)
1-877-298-3373 (Spanish)
1-877-990-8585 (Mandarin/Cantonese)

Visit www.nyc.gov/teen and click on "Dating and Friends" and "Feeling Stressed" to learn more.

SPECIAL RESOURCES
Youth In Progress

Hotlines (dating violence, housing, mental health)

ADVOCACY

Legal
Lawyers for Children
1-800-244-2540

Legal Aid (call the office in the borough where you lived when you first went into foster care)
Bronx: 718-579-7900
Brooklyn: 718-237-7100
Manhattan: 212-312-2260
Queens: 718-298-8900
Staten Isl.: 718-981-0219

Education/Special Ed
Advocates for Children
212-947-9779

Legal Aid Society’s Education Advocacy Project
212-577-3342

ETVs (Educational and Training Vouchers)

Featured Story

Pass the Veggies, Please: How fatty, sugary foods are poisoning our generation
image by Terrence Taylor

Pass the Veggies, Please!
How fatty, sugary foods are poisoning our generation.



As a teenager it’s hard to stay away from fast food. Everywhere you turn, you see a McDonald’s or a Burger King. The brightly colored advertisements hypnotize you with their low prices. It’s difficult to turn away because it is convenient and you know you are going to enjoy it. Because I have been eating McDonald’s since I was so young, my taste buds are already accustomed to the flavor. But I know that it is terribly unhealthy.

I decided to get a professional opinion on the topic of healthy eating. I spoke with Mike Hernandez, community outreach manager for the Healthy Monday campaign at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Healthy Monday is a national program that dedicates the first day of the week to health, including things like exercising, eating better, and tackling unhealthy habits like smoking. According to Hernandez, the basic definition of junk food is food that is high in calories but low in nutritional content and often heavily salted.

“Unfortunately people are getting more of their calories from fast-food restaurants, unhealthy processed snack foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages—like soda, fruit punches, and energy drinks—which are high in calories and sodium and offer zero nutritional value. They should be eating more real foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins like fish, poultry, nuts, beans, and lean meats,” Hernandez said.

When I asked how eating unhealthy could affect your mental state, he said that these foods can make you feel lazy and sluggish, which can lead to weight gain and even depression. If that’s true, then why do many people crave fast food and other junk food?

It turns out that people can get addicted to junk food. A recent study showed that rats, when given unlimited amounts of fatty and sugary foods, actually underwent a change in their brains that made them need more of it in order to get pleasure from it. That’s the same thing that happens in the brain with drugs and other types of addiction.

Eating too much sugar and fat can cause, among other problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. But if these kinds of foods are so addicting, how do we stop?

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When it comes to developing unhealthy eating habits, it’s sort of like monkey see, monkey do. No one in my family encouraged me to eat fast food, but I do see my family eat it, so I just gained a liking for it. Fast food fills you, but it doesn’t last long. In a short period of time you are hungry again, craving more.

Being in a residential treatment center (RTC) for nine months has just made things worse. Since I arrived at my RTC, I’ve gained a lot of weight. A typical dinner there is rice with some kind of meat or stew. We rarely get vegetables. . .

[read more]